2023 Pollie Conference Registration is Now Open!

After registering you’ll get access to book your hotel reservations within our discounted block of rooms at the luxurious conference host hotel, La Quinta Resort & Club. The room block will fill up quickly and our group rate of $299 will not be available after the block is full, so don’t delay!

Where: La Quinta Resort & Club, La Quinta, CA

La Quinta Resort & Club is located in the beautiful Coachella Valley, a short drive from Palm Springs.

When: April 18-20, 2023

Interested in showcasing your company in Palm Springs? Contact Debbie Thomas to learn more about our sponsorship opportunities!

AAPC Files Comments Citing Concerns with Proposed FCC Rules on Text Messaging

November 11, 2022


Robyn Matthews

Director, Advocacy and Industry Relations






AAPC Supports Industry Efforts to Target Scam and Spam Text Messaging While Protecting Political Free Speech


MCLEAN, VA – The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission yesterday regarding a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Targeting and Eliminating Unlawful Text Messages. AAPC’s Comments, on behalf of its more than 1,600 bipartisan members hailing from all across the United States, oppose the proposed rules citing First Amendment concerns, authentication protocols, and the timing of implementation that could adversely impact voter contact and opinion research efforts before the 2024 Presidential cycle.

AAPC members are experts on political campaigns and are skilled in general consulting, digital campaigns, media buying, polling, data and analytics, fundraising, and campaign technology.

View AAPC’s Comments 

The FCC released the NPRM on September 27, 2022, and it was published in the Federal Register on October 11, 2022, prompting a 30-day public comment period. The FCC has until November 25, 2022, to respond to public comments.


About AAPC
Founded in 1969, the AAPC is a multi-partisan organization of political and public affairs professionals dedicated to improving democracy. The AAPC has over 1,500 members hailing from all corners of the globe.  It is the largest association of political and public affairs professionals in the world. For more information, see www.theaapc.org.


New Event! 2022 Midterms: Straight from the Strategists

Get a first look behind the pivotal moments and key decisions of the cycle—from the people that made them!

A bipartisan panel of leaders from the major party committees and IEs will share their perspectives on competitive House and Senate campaigns and what factors– planned and unplanned—influenced their thinking throughout the primary and general campaigns.

This “first draft” download of the 2022 Election will be moderated for the political consulting industry by AAPC President Becki Donatelli and AAPC Vice President Larry Huynh.

Attendance to this event is by invitation only and is limited.  There is no fee to register, but you must be an AAPC member, sponsor or invited guest of the AAPC to attend.  Click here to request an invitation.

When: November 15th, 2022

Where: Hilton Washington D.C. Capitol Hill. 

Attendance to this event is by invitation only and is limited.  There is no fee to register, but you must be an AAPC member, sponsor or invited guest of the AAPC to attend.  Click here to request an invitation.

AAPC Condemns Netflix Decision To Deny Access for Political Speech and the Democratic Process

October 13, 2022


Alana Joyce
Executive Director
+1 703-245-8021





MCLEAN, VA – The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) opposes Netflix’s decision to ban political campaign and issue ads on Netflix’s ad-supported streaming service. Streaming services have become a critical means for campaigns to reach a broad audience of voters, especially young and diverse audiences who may not access traditional forms of media.

“We condemn Netflix’s decision to not accept campaign and issue ads on their streaming service,” said Becki Donatelli, Republican consultant and President of AAPC. “Blanket political ad bans on platforms gag legitimate, fully disclosed campaign and policy advertising by lawful candidates and organizations.”

Netflix’s decision of banning political campaign and issue advertising is against free speech, a cornerstone of our democratic society. AAPC steadfastly supports the foundational principles of political free speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and urges full access to social media networks, email service providers, texting platforms and digital news and content publishers for all official campaigns and political and non-profit organizations.

“A blanket ban on political ads is inequitable and will make it harder for people of color and young voters to get information on candidates and issues,” said Larry Huynh, Democratic consultant and Vice President of AAPC.

AAPC believes that suppression of political advertising ultimately reduces the ability of people to participate and learn about the democratic process – including the candidates, and political organizations, and policy issues that matter to them. Suppressing advertising is restricting free speech and an official campaign’s ability to reach a broad community online.

AAPC stands ready to work with all media partners to develop strong policies to uncover and stop misinformation while protecting free speech for campaigns and issue advocacy efforts.


About AAPC
Founded in 1969, the AAPC is a multi-partisan organization of political and public affairs professionals dedicated to improving democracy. The AAPC has over 1,500 members hailing from all corners of the globe.  It is the largest association of political and public affairs professionals in the world. For more information, see www.theaapc.org.


Pre-election Conference Call with Nathan L. Gonzales

Upcoming Conference Call with Nathan Gonzales

Nathan Gonzales will host a live conference call on October 14, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET to walk through the latest analysis on the midterm fight. This conference call is available to AAPC Members only. 

Honoring Rick Reed, longtime political consultant

Richard “Rick” G. Reed, 69, a veteran political ad maker, who served as a chief strategist for the influential 2004 “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” campaign, ad maker for the John McCain 2000 presidential campaign and the President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and who also helped put numerous Republican senators and governors in office, died of heart failure Aug. 17 at his home in Alexandria, Va.


Unlike many of his ilk, who eventually evolve into some vague definition of consulting, Mr. Reed continued to write scripts and produce ads throughout his professional career. His longtime firm—Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm—was said to have been among the top Republican political advertising firms in the nation.


In a statement, former client Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois said: “Rick was an exceptional talent and a gifted ad maker. In my case, he took a very young, virtual neophyte, and vaulted him into a U.S. Senate seat. His dry wit and contagious sense of humor made campaigning fun, and his clients loved him.”


Along with Senator Fitzgerald, Mr. Reed’s long track record of working on successful political campaigns includes clients Senator John Warner (R-VA), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator George Allen (R-VA), Governor John Rowland (R-CT), Governor Lincoln Almond, Congressman Tom Davis, the Republican National Committee, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a U.S. Marine combat veteran held in a Mexican jail for eight months, and many others.


Among some of the losses, was Mitt Romney’s senate campaign against Ted Kennedy – but an opportunity which Mr. Reed relished, as he and Romney remained friends.


Mr. Reed’s greatest political legacy is undoubtably his most controversial, as co-creator of the “Swift Boat” ads in the 2004 Presidential election against Democratic Nominee, John Kerry.


Mr. Reed attended the group’s press conference and was surprised it didn’t garner more coverage. “I thought those guys had a great story that needed to get out,” Reed said in a 2004  interview with the National Review. But the media wasn’t biting. So, the tactic was to go straight to the voter.


“The thing that struck me was that these people were not political people. . . They probably had no idea that this would really shake up the political process. You could have produced an ad based on the first press conference. Their inexperience gave them veracity. These people were the real deal. We wanted them to speak for themselves. Those people were credible.” (Reed, 2004, Interview with Patrick Devlin for the American Behavioral Scientist)



Mr. Reed teamed up with consultant Chris LaCivita and assembled 30 veterans with close connections to Kerry.


Unlike most well-funded Super PACs, they had to scrounge together $500,000 for the initial media buy. But using talk radio and the internet as their megaphone, the “Swifties” raised $19M for nine ads, most scripted by Mr. Reed, in 10 battleground states.


The ads used Kerry’s own words against him and let the veterans speak for themselves. A poll by Public Opinion Strategies showed that 75% recalled the Swift Boat ads. Even Kerry ad maker, Bill Knapp, admitted grudgingly, “That is a big bang for its demagogic buck.”


Mr. Reed was born in Wakefield, Mass. and at the age of 10 his family moved to the small beach town of Chatham, Mass. on Cape Cod, and graduated from Franklin & Marshall College, later receiving an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. After college, Mr. Reed began earning his political stripes doing advance work in Florida on the 1976 Ronald Reagan campaign against Gerald Ford.


He went on to work for several of the leading Republican consultants including the now infamous Black, Manafort and Stone where he worked on the convention operation for Prescott Bush in Connecticut and did media relations for Tom Evans in Delaware.


In 1979, Rick began a four-year tenure associated with U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire. He was Executive Director of the Northeast Conservative Political Action Committee (NECPAC), as well as President of the New England Institute of Political Research (NEIPR).


It was in those early career days that Mr. Reed found himself fortunate enough to link up with legendary GOP pollster Arthur Finkelstein, whom he from then on named his greatest influence and mentor, collaborating with him on behalf of Jack Eckard in Florida and Patrick Henry on Long Island, NY.


“On a practical level, he taught a lot of people about ‘wing’ candidacies and how the conservative activists on the Republican side were the ones who controlled the nominating process,” Reed told Roll Call in 2003 in an interview about Arthur Finkelstein. “He’s not one to spend a lot of time trying to curry favor with the party hierarchy, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.”


“It was Arthur Finkelstein that pushed him to think outside the box,” said Reed’s daughter Mackey Reed, an ad strategist at the Democratic political consulting and public affairs firm SKDK. “Think like a voter, not a consultant, not a candidate. You have 30 seconds to drive an emotion. He quoted Arthur his entire career.”


It was that way of thinking that made the Swift Boat campaign a success – and brought Mr. Reed to Donald Trump.


“In 2015, no one thought Trump had a chance,” said Tony Fabrizio, another Finkelstein protégé and Trump pollster, said in a statement, “But Rick understood the changes within the GOP and understood Trump’s message and appeal. His ads guided Trump through that gauntlet of a primary to the GOP nomination.”


Mr. Reed credited his ad career to his friend and mentor, Greg Stevens, who died of brain cancer in 2006. In a family interview conducted by his daughter, Carly, on May 30, 2022, Mr. Reed stated, “Well my best boss was Greg Stevens who was a good friend and neighbor before he asked me to join him as a partner. Years earlier, during the 1988 presidential campaign, I had told him I would love to work for him. I drafted a script and sent it to him…it was about how filthy Boston Harbor was and proof that Michael Dukakis didn’t really care about the environment to the extent he claimed. My thinking was swing voters…especially suburban, college educated women, needed to be reminded that Dukakis was a failure in that regard. Greg sent my concept to his then partner, Roger Ailes, and it became an ad.”


Along the way, Mr. Reed served as the political editor of the White House Bulletin and also as a Vice President of Market Opinion Research. Rick was a Deputy Director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where he oversaw the Committee’s political activities in 12 states and set up an innovative survey tracking system used in 18 states.


At the NRSC, Mr. Reed was well known for office pranks and his knack for impersonations, “In 1983, Rick was with the Senate Committee and I was with the Reagan re-elect,” recalled good friend Laurance Gay. “Senator Lugar was the Committee Chair. One Saturday Rick went out for his usual jog. The phone rang and it was Senate Lugar looking for Rick. He [Lugar] was not happy at all with me not knowing where Rick was and I didn’t want to tell him he was out for a run. Anyway, Lugar hung up on me. Rick walked in about 10 minutes later and I broke the news about the Senator not being happy and looking for him. At that moment, Rick burst out laughing and finally told me it was him calling from the corner bodega pretending to be Lugar!”


“Oh, Rick was always up to something,” said his wife Gayla Reed of 37 years. The two met working at the NRSC for Mitch Daniels. “”He was the funniest, smartest guy in the office. His lighthearted humor was infectious. Everyone loved him for it. I loved him for it. It was a quality he maintained throughout his life.”


Mr. Reed’s sense of humor was a common thread in interviews, “His great intellect, unwavering integrity and dry wit was rare in the political media consulting world, and it was a winning combination,” said Robin Roberts, National Media.


“I was blessed to have Rick in my world for over 40 years. He was the real friend in the truest sense of the word,” wrote Jim Murphy, Integrated Strategy Group. “Professionally, he had an uncanny creative streak and brilliant mind, although he would deny having either. Personally, his humor and humility made him a joy to be around.”


“Reminiscing about Rick Reed has me crying and laughing at the same time. He had an uncanny level of wit, humor and of course, was a consummate professional. He maintained a level of integrity in all that he did,” said Gay.


Mr. Reed leaves behind his wife, Gayla Gillis Reed and three children, Mackey Reed (Stephen Shaw), Gardner Reed (Nick Calamare), and Carly Reed (Caleb Herbert). He was immensely proud of his family as they were of him.


When asked on March 22, 2022 what made him the happiest, Mr. Reed had three answers, “I am happiest when I am with my family and know what everyone else is happy. Life has its ups and downs so I understand that none of us are happy every single minute of every day. After that,” Mr. Reed added, “being busy and productive at work; seeing that my work is making an impact on election results is a good feeling. And helping others when I can makes me happy…even those I don’t know at all. I don’t spend as much time on this as I should.”


An “ad guy” in the truest sense Rick Reed loved politics and loved writing ads. “On one of the McCain campaigns, Rick was always in the edit suite perfecting the tv spots, usually late into the night,” said long time McCain adviser and friend Rick Davis. “One night we were under pressure to get a spot to stations and I brought dinner to Rick to push him to finish and after some time Rick looked over at me and said “Buddy, you can’t rush history”. He was right…and wrote his own chapter in political history.”



Dates Announced: Pollies 2023


Politics is a relationship business. Pollies ‘23 is designed to bring our community together to reconnect, ready ourselves for the new challenges ahead, and discussed lessons learned form the 2022 midterms. As The Political Consulting Event of the Year, the Pollies is your best opportunity to grow your skills and expand your network. No other industry event offers the same caliber of speakers, attendees, dining, adventures—and FUN. What’s more, the investment you make in attending the Pollies goes right back—to you! Not only will you enjoy a great experience, you’ll support the work of the only nonprofit Association working to advance the industry, protect your ability to do business and safeguard political free speech. Don’t miss Pollies 23, April 18-20, 2023 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California.

When: April 18-20, 2023

Where: La Quinta Resort & Club, Palm Springs, California

Registration will open in Fall of 2022. Upon registration, attendees will receive information for accessing AAPC’s discounted hotel room block at the La Quinta Resort & Club.

Learn more by clicking here.

Registration for AAPC’s Digital Politics Conference is Now Open!

AAPC’s 2022 Digital Politics conference takes a look at the strategies, tactics and tech campaigns need to be successful going into the November midterms—and how best to optimize your campaign budgets to persuade voters.  Each program is designed by an advisory board of digital experts and leading consultants to feature influential and relevant perspectives at both state and national levels.

Registration is free for AAPC Members, and only $99 for non-members! Register today!

When: August 25, 2022

Where: Virtual

AAPC Announces 2022 Pollie Award Winners

May 19, 2022

Alana Joyce
Executive Director


AAPC Announces 2022 Pollie Award Winners

Political advertising’s largest and most prestigious Awards program has record-breaking year

San Juan, Puerto Rico (May 19, 2022) – The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) today announced the winners of the 2022 Pollie Awards, the premier awards competition for the political advertising industry. This cycle, over 200 firms submitted a 1,100+ entries across 10 mediums, including television, digital, direct mail/print, radio and phones. Despite the large number of entries received, given AAPC’s stringent standards for trophy eligibility, only 11% of entries earned Pollie Gold, the industry’s top honor.

“The 2021 campaign cycle featured no less challenges than 2020, and continued to test long-standing campaign tactics and force innovation,” said Becki Donateli, AAPC President. “The firms honored with a Pollie Award this year developed new strategies and campaign tools whose impacts were felt in the results of elections across the country. AAPC offers our most fervent congratulations for their wins.”

The Strategy Group Co, a Republican firm based in Columbus, Ohio took home the most Pollie wins this year at 18, while Bergmann Zwerdling Direct, headquartered in Washington, D.C., commanded the top spot among Democratic firms with 12 wins. Republican firm The Strategy Group Co. and Democratic firm Putnam Partners tied for the most Pollie Gold wins, both earning 5 coveted trophies.

“The Pollie Contest could not have been a success without the help of more than 120 AAPC members who volunteered to serve as judges,” said Larry Huynh, AAPC Vice President. “In addition to evaluating the political effectiveness and execution of each piece, our judges assessed whether or not each entry met AAPC’s higher standards on citations and the requirements of AAPC’s Professional Code of Ethics. We sincerely appreciate all of our judges who helped to uphold AAPC’s values.”

About the Pollie Awards

The Pollie Awards (Pollies) are bipartisan honors awarded annually by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) to members of the political advertising and communications industry who have demonstrated superior work on behalf of their candidates and causes. A blind jury of their professional peers selects AAPC award winners. Esquire magazine has dubbed the Pollies “…the Oscars of political advertising.”

The full list of 2022 Pollie Contest winners can be found in the , and the winning work can be viewed in the .

About AAPC

Founded in 1969, the AAPC is a multi-partisan organization of political and public affairs professionals dedicated to improving democracy. The AAPC has over 1,400 members hailing from all corners of the globe. It is the largest association of political and public affairs professionals in the world. For more information, see .

AAPC Announces Campaign Excellence Awards for the 2021 cycle


Alana Joyce
Executive Director
+1 703-245-8021


For Immediate Release

May 18, 2022

AAPC Announces Campaign Excellence Awards for the 2021 cycle
Youngkin for Governor named Campaign of the Year and Stop the Republican Recall of Gavin Newsom named Digital Campaign of the Year

San Juan, Puerto Rico (May 18, 2022) —The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC)—America’s largest and only bipartisan network of political professionals— today announced the winners of the AAPC Campaign Excellence Awards for exceptional work during the 2021 cycle. These awards were presented at a special ceremony in conjunction with the annual AAPC Pollie Awards & Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Campaign Excellence Awards are a longstanding tradition of the AAPC and recognize those individuals who have significantly contributed to the success of a candidate or public affairs campaign and whose conduct has been consistent with the Professional Code of Ethics of the AAPC.

“The 2022 Campaign Excellence Award winners far surpassed the high bar of scrutiny set out in our standards of judging. The effort, dedication and masterful skills these individuals employed during the 2021 campaign cycle deserves tremendous recognition, and AAPC is proud to provide just that,” said AAPC President Becki Donatelli. “It’s a privilege to celebrate these outstanding political practitioners together at the Pollie Conference,” added AAPC Vice President Larry Huynh.

“Political Marketing + Media and our affiliates PlayFly Sports and Home Team Sports would like to offer congratulations to the 2022 Campaign Excellence Award winners,” said Stephen Ullman, Managing Partner of Political Marketing + Media. “We are honored to share in their celebration at the 2022 Pollie Conference.”

AAPC Campaign Excellence Award Winners

Ballot Measure Campaign of the Year (Local): Save Austin Now – Proposition B

Ballot Measure Campaign of the Year (Statewide): Cannabis Community for Fairness and Safety (CCFS) – No on 119

Public Affairs Campaign of the Year: Every Bottle Back

Independent Expenditure Campaign of the Year: All of Mpls

Campaign Manager of the Year, Non-Statewide (Democratic): Katie Moore, Eric Adams for Mayor

Campaign Manager of the Year, Non-Statewide (Republican): Matt Brownfield, Jake Ellzey for Congress

Fundraiser of the Year (Democratic): Darren Rigger, Dynamic SRG – NYC Campaigns for Borough Presidents and Speaker

Fundraiser of the Year (Republican): Jenniffer Ortiz-Alizieri, Campaign Solutions, CDI Ads and Winning Tuesday – Larry Elder for Governor

Digital Campaign of the Year: Stop the Republican Recall of Gavin Newsom

Campaign Manager of the Year, Statewide (Democratic): Juan Rodrigiez, Stop the Republican Recall of Gavin Newsom

Campaign Manager of the Year, Statewide (Republican): Klarke Kilgore, Jason Miyares for Virginia Attorney General

Most Valuable Player of the Year (Democratic): Kendra-Sue Derby, Howard Franklin & Candice Franklin, Andre Dickens for Atlanta Mayor

 Most Valuable Player of the Year (Republican): Kristin Davison, Youngkin Campaign

Pollster of the Year (Democratic): Tulchin Research, Eric Adams for Mayor of New York City 2021

Pollster of the Year (Republican): WPAi AND Tarrance Group – Youngkin for Governor

Campaign of the Year: Youngkin for Governor


About the 2022 AAPC Pollie Conference

As the premier industry event, the 2022 Pollie Awards & Conference is held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from May 17-19, 2022 and brings the leading political professionals in the world together to network and hear from top technology innovators, pollsters, pundits and service providers. The Conference features cutting-edge programming on key industry trends, designed to empower attendees to leverage the latest techniques in campaign strategy and management. The Conference is widely recognized as the must-attend event for political consultants, media buyers, public affairs specialists, suppliers, industry leaders and journalists. For details, visit www.theaapc.org.

About AAPC
Founded in 1969, the AAPC is a multi-partisan organization of political and public affairs professionals dedicated to improving democracy. The AAPC has over 1,400 members hailing from all corners of the globe.  It is the largest association of political and public affairs professionals in the world. For more information, see www.theaapc.org.

About Political Marketing + Media

Founded in 2014, Political Marketing + Media specializes in matching political candidates, committees + advocacy groups with the best local, regional + national sports, news and entertainment programming and events. For more information, see politicalmarketingandmedia.com.